If you operate an online shop, or any ecommerce business really, you have a specific set of actions you want visitors to do. It might be to sign up to a mailing list, complete a contact form to register a sales enquiry, request a call back, book a service or buy a product. To track visitor progress through this path, we use Google Analytics Goal setting and Goal Funnels.
Why track the path
Tracking that path isn't what is important here though. What we are interested in is tracking the drop off between the steps. Every extra step we have is a place where visitors drop out and don't become customers. The difference between the number of visitors that reach a step an dthe number that continue to the next is called a conversion rate. Knowing the conversion rates along your funnel allows you to assess the effectiveness of changes and allows you to compare your conversion rates at each point.